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Dublin: 1 °C Thursday 17 January, 2019

Fitness bloggers and influencers are being asked to use their platform responsibly in the run-up to Christmas

How posts on preventing Christmas weight gain could be doing more harm than good.

CW: Post contains references to weight gain/loss, binge-eating and restrictive eating.

CHRISTMAS IS TYPICALLY associated with presents, naff music and copious amounts of food.

However, it can also be a time of immense pressure for people on all sides. There’s the brigade that insist you watch your eating habits over the festive period so you don’t “fall off the wagon”. On the other side, you have people encouraging you to eat all around you, because it is Christmas and that is the done thing to do.

Between Christmas wishlists and gift guides, fitness bloggers have been sharing tips on how to enjoy Christmas. However, the language contained in posts like these can often be problematic. Over-indulgence at Christmas isn’t something to feel guilty about either. The emphasis should be on family and fun around the (supposedly) most wonderful time of year.

This week, Carly Rowena – a prominent fitness YouTuber, blogger and Cross-Fit-er – posted a blog entitled, ’5 Steps To Prevent Holiday Weight Gain’.

Not unusual, given that magazines and other short-form publications have exploited women’s insecurities – particularly surrounding the issue of weight – long before Instagram was ever a thing.

While the actual content of the post doesn’t actually go as far in shaming people, the title drew almost immediate criticism from online community. Fellow blogger Gracie Francesca also voiced her concerns, as someone who has survived an eating disorder.

However, Irish YouTuber Melanie Murphy vocalised her support for Carly’s post, calling her advice “balanced”.

In response to the criticism, Carly tweeted:

Honestly this is so exhausting, my post says to enjoy yourself and to eat what you enjoy, it also offers advice to those who want some guidance.
I have always been pro loving the food you eat & the body you have.”

Bit of a mind melt, huh?

The long and the short of it though is this. While most bloggers – Carly included – have good intentions in sharing posts like this, the clickbait-y titles serve no purpose other than scaremongering.

It’s less about normalising obesity and eating to excess, and more about dismantling the notion that guilt is to be associated with anything other than crimes. Christmas can be hard enough for some people without the added pressure of feeling like they can or can’t eat certain things.

Titles like this do more to enforce restrictive eating habits than they do to promote ‘balance’. Which begs the question – how necessary are those extra clicks in the grand scheme of things?

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